This panel analyzes the political consequences of new urban encounters, from technological infrastructure projects to demographic patterns of circular migration and new forms of media exchange.
With urbanization comes opportunity for new encounters: with the state, with media, with other citizens from varied backgrounds. This panel asks: What are the political consequences of such encounters? We interrogate this from multiple perspectives. Paller and Klopp look at new encounters with the state in urban areas and the possible range of responses from political engagement to seeking alternatives and exit. Philipps seeks to demonstrate how cities and urban spaces provide the potential to change and transform politics through the introduction to new forms of media, and the spatial configurations of how news and information is received and interpreted in a politicized urban world. Robinson and Riedl use new survey data to assess how citizens continually recreate home in multiple spaces simultaneously - and particularly in their urban environment - and how this shapes their social identities and political behavior. Pitcher and Croese examine how the authoritarian regime in Angola relies on different locations and urban designs and materials to socially engineer particular kinds of political and economic relationships with the urban poor and the middle class in Luanda. Guma examines new urban infrastructural systems to determine how they reproduce or challenge particular power relations through everyday encounters and how such technology is controlled or contested by different actors throughout the political space. This panel provides a distinctive focus on the urban citizen in Africa and on their social perceptions and reactions to their urban environment.